Playing the Field: The Air2G2 324 Preps Everbank Field for the Jacksonville Jaguars
At EverBank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team in Jacksonville, Florida, Nick Fedewa’s main priority is player safety. As the Assistant Sports Field Manager for the past 15 years, Fedewa works to relieve compaction, improve drainage and combat excessive wear to create and maintain consistent playing surfaces on the stadium field and three practice fields using the Air2G2 324.
“The main reason we use it is because we want safer fields,” Fedewa said. “If you can get better drainage and less compaction, that’s going to make your fields safer.”
The Air2G2 324 uses the Air2G2 air-injection process to relieve Compaction, increase Porosity and enhance Respiration by laterally injecting air into the soil profile to fracture hardpan layers and enable airflow. This is achieved with minimal surface disruption, no damage to the roots below and without leaving a mess of cores to clean up as is required after certain types of aerification.
NFL Football Operations require its venues to meet safety standards within 72 hours prior to a game. Safety checks include close inspections of the field for loose objects, moisture content and stability. Fields are tested using a Clegg Impact tester, a compaction sensing and soil testing device, to help check for hardness. Using the Air2G2 324 once every two weeks helps Fedewa prepare for game day inspections, keep the fields in compliance with the strict NFL safety standards.
EverBank Field is operated and maintained by SMG Jacksonville, an organization that manages entertainment venues throughout the city. The problem areas at EverBank tend to be near the entrances, down the edges of the field and sidelines, and out on the older practice fields, Fedewa said.
“Before the game starts and with all our entrances and all our equipment, the entrances tend to get hard and get compacted and we can run the Air2G2 out there very quickly and relieve the compaction and get back to where we need to be to comply with NFL standards,” Fedewa said. “With the practice team field being more organic, they tend to not drain as well so we run the Air2G2 out there in between the fields where the water gathers and that helps aid in the draining of the practice fields and helps dry them out before practice, keeping the field safe.”
Fedewa’s maintenance routine for the 15-year- old practice fields is to treat them once or twice a week, depending on the weather. These older fields have been gathering organic matter. Frequent management with the Air2G2 324 alleviates compaction and allows for improved porosity, enabling water to drain through properly.
“We get fast relief from compaction, better water percolation through the top part of the surface through the organic matter and obviously better drainage,” Fedewa said.
The Air2G2 324 provides instant compaction relief, helping game day preparations go smoother. A stable, consistent playing field is a safer playing field.
“We use it as a periodic aerifier, to put air into the root system to help relieve compaction and aid in drainage,” Fedewa said. “All while causing no disruption to the top surface for safety for the players. All that we do is for the players.”